Calcium

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General Description:

  • a 70 kg. person contains 1.3 kg Ca (99% of that is in the bones)

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  • ability to prevent and slow osteoporosis, the brittle bone disease affecting one out of every four American women (to qualify you must have lost 30% of your bone mass) or 6.3 million Americans
  • need Mg, Si, Fl, Zn, Cu, B, Mn, P, and vitamin D in addition to calcium to build strong bones
  • bones change everyday via the process of remodeling
  • without good calcium intake, remodeling can result in bones that grow progressively thinner
  • osteoporosis may be a factor in loss of bone from the jaw, leading to a loss of teeth
  • loss of teeth is thus an early warning sign of osteoporosis
  • apparent role in controlling high blood pressure
  • lowers the chances of developing colon cancer because it binds to harmful substances
  • colon cancer rates are significantly lower in Florida, which is thought to be related to the production of large amounts of vitamin D on a regular basis, which then enhances the absorption of calcium in the intestines where it is needed to exert it’s cancer preventative effects
  • Ca controls nerve impulses and muscle contraction

Deficiency:

  • average daily intake is 743 mg.
  • RDA is 1200 mg.
  • for women over 35, 75% are not meeting the RDA
  • two-thirds of American women (18-35) have Ca intakes below the RDA (recommended daily allowance)
  • maximum bone mass and strength is achieved between the ages of 18 and 35
  • bone mineralization increases tremendously in response to the stress of exercise
  • when women reach menopause their need for calcium rises dramatically due to the sharp drop in estrogen production, that accompanies menopause, which is a major bone-protecting factor with enormous influence
  • to make up for the sharp decrease in estrogen production at menopause a woman needs to increase her calcium intake and/or replace estrogen
  • recommendations of Consensus Panel on Osteoporosis convened by National Institute of Health (NIH) in 1984 were: postmenopausal women – 1000 mg. of Ca/day; postmenopausal women (without estrogen) – 1500 mg., and postmenopausal women (with estrogen) – 1000 mg.
  • some bone loss does occur before menopause so it is also wise to increase your calcium intake for approximately one decade before menopause
  • too little Ca is not the only thing contributing to osteoporosis. Other factors include: frequent use of aluminum-containing antacids, high alcohol intake, removal of the ovaries (without estrogen replacement), a sedentary lifestyle, small build, smoking, stress, and thinness (10% below desirable weight)
  • women are more likely to be affected by osteoporosis but men are more likely to be affected by high blood pressure
  • white women are more frequently affected than black women
  • calcium must be soluble in order to be absorbed and this requires stomach acid
  • some people, especially the elderly, do not secrete sufficient stomach acid (hypochlorhydria) to change calcium from the insoluble form to the soluble form
  • about 10% over 60 years have insufficient stomach acid and about 30% of people over 70 years secrete inadequate stomach acid
  • hypochlorhydria is a condition most common around menopause
  • patients with low stomach acid should only use soluble calcium supplements
  • bedtime is the best time to take a calcium supplement, because the hormones released during sleep enhance Ca absorption
  • it should be noted that a high protein diet, which increases the levels of uric acid in the body, which must be buffered, increase the excretion of calcium and many other minerals, thus leaching it from the bones
  • calcium carbonate (oyster shell, egg shell, or other) contains a high percent calcium but it is an insoluble form and requires a lot of stomach acid to dissolve it
  • calcium citrate (21% Ca) is a much more soluble form of Ca, and it is 30% absorbed, and thus it is suitable for use by the elderly and others with hypochlorhydria
  • calcium phosphate is not advisable either as most diets are already too high in phosphate
  • however, out of mono-, di-, or triphosphate the most soluble is the monophosphate
  • chelated calcium (ie, calcium bound to an amino acid rather than something else like carbonate) is more soluble also
  • calcium chloride is highly soluble, but it irritates the stomach lining
  • calcium gluconate and lactate are very soluble forms, which do not cause stomach irritation, but the percentage of calcium in them is very small (13% in lactate and 9% in gluconate)
  • bonemeal (30% Ca) and dolomite (20% Ca) should be avoided because of their high concentrations of lead and other heavy metals
  • milk, being less than 1% Ca and only 27% absorbed is a poor source of calcium
  • it should also be noted that milk and other dairy products, often eaten to get calcium, are also very high in toxic metals, pesticides, hormones, antibiotics etc.

Interactions and Toxicity:

  • no toxicity has been reported with 2500 mg./day
  • problems from excessive calcium intake result only if the body absorbs too much calcium from what is consumed
  • normally, the body allows excessive calcium to pass through the digestive tract unabsorbed
  • if the body absorbs too much calcium the result is hypercalcemia, too much Ca in the blood
  • too much Ca in the urine increases the risk of developing kidney stones and can lead to calcification of various body tissues (especially the kidneys) and to excessively dense bones (osteosclerosis)
  • most people have normal Ca metabolism with a calcium thermostat that regulates Ca absorption
  • the body places a higher priority on maintaining enough Ca in the blood than in the bones
  • if blood calcium levels fall lower than necessary to maintain normal functioning of the muscles and heart (which use Ca for contraction), the body uses calcium from the bones
  • ”idiopathic hypercalciuria” is a metabolic disorder in which the intestines do not adequately regulate calcium absorption
  • 1000 mg. of extra Ca/day increases the calcium concentration of the urine by an average of 50-70 mg./day in middle-aged and elderly people
  • phytates in grains and cereals, and oxalates in spinach, rhubarb, cocoa, chocolate, and coffee, bind calcium and inhibit absorption

Sources:

  • sesame seeds, leafy-green vegetables

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